“Our boys and girls deserve the best education that we are capable of giving them taking into account the fiscal reality of Puerto Rico,” Keleher said.
The US commonwealth will get about $10.2 billion to cover needs stemming from the disaster, plus $8.3 billion for “mitigation” activities, meant to protect it from future events.
The money is meant to support disaster recovery, including rebuilding or redeveloping housing, repairing infrastructure and assisting businesses.
Maria, which made landfall September 20 in Puerto Rico, left millions of islanders there without power or running water. Many lost their homes, and some still were living months later in houses without functional roofs.
US Virgin Islands, Texas, California also get grants
Puerto Rico’s allocation is part of nearly $28 billion that HUD will award to various places still struggling to recover from disasters that have struck since 2015, the agency stated in a news release. States and US territories get the money through the Community Development Block Grant program, then disburse it to state and local agencies in line with federal rules.
Other grantees at this time include the US Virgin Islands, which also sustained severe damage last year from hurricanes, as well as Texas and Florida, which were struck by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Some money also will go to California, where communities have been affected by wildfires and mudslides.
CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report.